Dorie told us to vary the ingredients: spices, nuts, dried fruits or go with some strong tea, and have fun with this cake. I like the freedom in making the cake anyway you like it. There are so many different adaptations of this spice cake. It will be exciting to see how other bakers vary this recipe, please see the blogroll at Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD).
The traditional pain d’épices is made with strong-flavor honey. A lighter or darker honey will alter the intensity of the flavor. The honey I used was not particularly flavorful and I can hardly taste the honey in the cake. I’ll make a note of that for future reference to make a more deliberate choice on the honey.
I followed Dorie’s recipe fairly closely. Started with infusing three-quarters of a cup of water with orange peel, a few pieces of fresh ginger, peppercorns and dry lavender. The major change I made was using gluten-free flour in place of all-purpose flour. (My husband asked me to make some gluten-free bake goods for his trainer. I obliged.) The dry cherries went in last. The batter came together easily in a cohesive mass. Its texture felt more like a bread dough than a cake batter. Made two mini cakes instead of one large loaf. The mini cakes reduced the baking time to under one hour. The cake had barely risen in height, clearly not a riser.
There was no mistaking that spiced cakes were in the making. The warm and assertive scent of spices permeated the air in the kitchen and beyond. It’s starting to smell like Christmas. ‘Tis the season!
|The use of gluten-free flour results in a denser crumb|